Inkster in the hunt again

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2011, 1:25 am

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup

PHOENIX – Juli Inkster will tell you there’s no secret to her longevity.

There’s no mystery as to why she climbed onto another leaderboard Friday and remains so competitive at 50 years old.

“I guess because I still love the game,” Inkster said in the first round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

With a 4-under-par 68, Inkster is in the hunt in the opening American event on the 2011 LPGA schedule.

If Inkster wins, she’ll be the oldest player to win an LPGA title at 50 years, 8 months and 24 days old. She would surpass Beth Daniel, who was 46 years, 8 months and 29 days old when she won the Canadian Women’s Open in 2003.

While Inkster’s aiming to win this week, she’s not driven to be the oldest player to win a tour event. In fact, you get the feeling she would rather not be reminded she’s the oldest player on tour every time she gets into contention.

Juli Inkster
Juli Inkster, 50, remains competitive on the LPGA. (Getty Images)

“It’s not like I’m 80 years old,” Inkster said. “I’m 50. I know I’m competing against 20-, 25-year-olds, but I’m sure I could beat half of them on a treadmill.”

Inkster wants to win just to enjoy the sensation and satisfaction again.

Reminded her last victory was the Safeway International in Phoenix five years ago, she scrunched her face trying to remember.

“I guess, yeah,” Inkster said. “Just being the oldest player to win doesn’t mean that much, but winning out here would mean a lot.”

Inkster says she doesn’t just love to play, she still loves to practice and work on her game. She loves it enough to play a tournament for free, which she and every other player are doing this week. Notably, Inkster is doing so as a show of support for the women’s game.

But Inkster loves the tour, and she wondered openly after her round about the timing of the new event, given the few opportunities LPGA pros have today.

“Mike has a good idea, I just think it’s hard for us as professional golfers to play for free,” Inkster said. “We only have a certain amount of tournaments, and this is what we do for a living. We’re going to see how it goes. It has a lot of good things about it, and things that could be tweaked.

“I hate to say it, but the people who lose the most are the caddies. They only work a certain amount of weeks. If your boss is getting zero, you’re pretty much getting zero. So I think we’ve got to find a way to make it financially good for them.”

Players receive a stipend this week that covers their caddie’s base pay and expenses, but caddies won’t be getting the percentage of winnings they typically get.

“If I actually did win this week and was able to give the whole purse to charity, I’d feel pretty good about it,” Inkster said. “But I wouldn’t want to do it every week.”

Inkster’s designated charity will go to a San Jose, Calif., homeless shelter.

“If we had another six, seven, eight domestic opportunities, I think this would be great,” Inkster said. “I also do think it’s important for myself and for some of the top players to play because we’re supporting the commissioner, we’re supporting RR Donnelley and we’re supporting the LPGA founders. I do think it’s important we’re here to play.”

There would be something fitting should Inkster win this week.

The Founders Cup is all about more than honoring the pioneers who started the tour 61 years ago. It’s about honoring the game’s tradition. Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan and Betsy King played a special exhibition in front of the first threesome off Friday morning. They drew a large crowd. Inkster’s a large part of the game’s history. The Hall of Famer has won 31 LPGA titles, including seven major championships.

“I’ve played in Phoenix forever,” Inkster said. “All the gray hairs here loved me. I’ve played in Phoenix every year we’ve had a tournament here.”

Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."